Death of the Territories by Tim Hornbaker, ECW Press

Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War that Changed Pro Wrestling Forever

Hornbaker, Tim

  • For decades, distinct professional wrestling territories thrived across North America. Each regionally based promotion operated individually and offered a brand of localized wrestling that greatly appealed to area fans. Promoters routinely coordinated with associates in surrounding regions, and the cooperation displayed by members of the National Wrestling Alliance made it easy for wrestlers to traverse the landscape with the utmost freedom.

    Dozens of territories flourished between the 1950s and late ’70s. But by the early 1980s, the growth of cable television had put new outside pressures on promoters. An enterprising third-generation entrepreneur who believed cable was his opportunity to take his promotion national soon capitalized on the situation.

    A host of novel ideas and the will to take chances gave Vincent Kennedy McMahon an incredible advantage. McMahon waged war on the territories and raided the NWA and AWA of their top talent. By creating WrestleMania, jumping into the pay-per-view field, and expanding across North America, McMahon changed professional wrestling forever.

    Providing never-before-revealed information, Death of the Territories is a must-read for fans yearning to understand how McMahon outlasted his rivals and established the industry’s first national promotion. At the same time, it offers a comprehensive look at the promoters who opposed McMahon, focusing on their noteworthy power plays and embarrassing mistakes.


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  • Tim Hornbaker is the author of eight nonfiction books, including National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly that Strangled Pro Wrestling and Capitol Revolution: The Rise of the McMahon Wrestling Empire. His biography Turning the Black Sox White was nominated for SABR’s Larry Ritter Award and the Seymour Medal in 2015. He lives in Tamarac, FL, with his wife, Jodi.

  • Published: September 2018

    ISBN: 9781770413849

    Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.

    Pages: 272


“Tried-and-true wrestling fans will find lots to get excited about.” — Publishers Weekly

“With Death of the Territories, Tim Hornbaker further establishes himself as possibly the finest wrestling historian writing today.” — Jon Langmead, Writer, PopMatters, SLAM! Wrestling

“Tim Hornbaker’s Death of the Territories is a tightly researched, engaging read that tells of the turbulent years surrounding Vince’s conquest of the wrestling world and the struggles of those that tried to keep up.” — Every Read Thing blog

“Tim Hornbaker shows why he is the quintessential writer on professional wrestling history.” — Kayfabe Wrestling Radio

“Tim Hornbaker offers up an impartial and vital chronicle of the death of the territorial system in a book that is a must for any wrestling historian.” — Pro Wrestling Only

“Tim Hornbaker’s Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War that Changed Pro Wrestling Forever, published in 2018 by ECW Press (no, not that ECW), is a great resource for anyone looking to better understand the modern history of the wrestling business … Death of the Territories does an excellent job of telling this story. It’s a must-read for any wrestling fan who wants to learn about the personalities and shake-ups that shaped the wrestling industry into what it is today.” — Last Word On Sports

“Tim Hornbaker has penned the definitive story of the death of the wrestling territories and pro wrestling itself as many of us loved it. Tim takes an incredibly complex story with many moving parts and boils it down with precision to just what you need to know.” — Jim Cornette, Pro Wrestling Legend and Historian

“Armed with excellent research, Tim Hornbaker puts the reader in the centre of the purge that wiped out the fiefdom that once ruled professional wrestling, leaving Vince McMahon the last man standing.” — Mike Johnson,

“Hornbaker provides readers with an extensive and well-researched look into the history of the pro wrestling territory system . . . Hornbaker lays out the story in an engaging way which makes Death of the Territories hard to put down.” — Clearing Out the Clutter

Death of the Territories is the new standard-bearer in books for this era of American pro wrestling. I cannot recommend it enough.” — Voices of Wrestling

Death of the Territories is a book that needs to be on every wrestling historian and fan’s book shelf.” — Lance Writes blog